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Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway

Named one of the 10 Most Outstanding Byways in North America, Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway includes both Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road.

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One of the 10 Most Outstanding Byways in North America

State Game Lodge with sunrise light on it View of hills and mountains with a forest at the base. This is Needles Highway

Some of the Most Incredible Roads Anywhere

The Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway complements the park's three scenic drives and includes some of the most dramatic natural and historic features in the Black Hills. It consists of a loop made up of four numbered highways: SD 87 (Needles Highway), SD 89, SD 244, and US Route 16A (Iron Mountain Road). Sites include the Needles, Mount Rushmore, and a bird’s-eye view of the rocky peaks and forested hills of the Black Hills National Forest.

The byway is named for Peter Norbeck, a South Dakota conservationist, Governor and U.S. Senator. Norbeck planned and surveyed most of the roads located within the park and his vision inspired Custer State Park, Norbeck Wildlife Preserve and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

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How Long Does It Take to Drive Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway

While it can be driven in three to four hours, you most likely will want to devote most of a day’s time to the Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway and wildlife watching along the way. Shaggy white mountain goats, deer and chipmunks are among the commonly-seen wildlife. Count on many stops for photographs, lunch at Sylvan Lake Lodge, The State Game Lodge, or Legion Lake Lodge, and a visit to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Where to Eat

Where to Start

Highways 16A, 244, 89 and 87 combine to create the route. Just like Peter Norbeck did when he mapped the route on foot, visitors find that a good starting point is the historic State Game Lodge, which served as the Summer White House in 1927. Here, visitors will enjoy breakfast at the restaurant, stop at Coolidge General store for snacks, and visit the Custer State Park Visitor Center before journeying on to Iron Mountain Road a few miles North. This route ensures that your first sight of Mount Rushmore is viewed through the tunnels that 'frame' the national monument--all in anticipation of your stop there.

Start at the State Game Lodge
Drone shot of Custer State Park Resort

Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway Tunnels

Drivers should be aware of all tunnel sizes in Custer State Park, and Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway takes you through them all, the narrowest being Needles Eye Tunnel.

Iron Mountain Road | US 16A Scenic N

Doane Robinson Tunnel: 12'0" Wide / 11'4" High
C.C. Gideon Tunnel:
13'0" Wide / 11'0" High
Scovel Johnson Tunnel:
10'9" Wide / 11'0" High

Needles Highway | SD 87 N

Needles Eye Tunnel: 8'0" Wide / 9'9" High
Iron Creek Tunnel:
8'9" Wide / 10'10" High

Sylvan Lake Road | SD 87/89, North of Sylvan Lake

Hood Tunnel: 8'9" Wide / 9'8" High

Tunnel Map

Book a Guided Tour

A Custer State Park Resort open-air Jeep can be booked privately for your highlight tour of Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, the six tunnels, photo stops, and the pigtail bridges. Departures are available from Sylvan Lake Lodge and the State Game Lodge.

Scenic Tour Info
Lodge building at Custer State park Resort

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